How Do I Become an Uber Driver in London?

How do I become an Uber driver in London?
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Earn a flexible income driving with Uber in London!

Are you ready to earn a flexible income and be your own boss? The steps below will guide you through the journey to getting started with Uber. The good news is if it looks like too much fuss, Splend is here to help! After all, we are the experts in the rideshare space, having helped over 10,000 Uber drivers globally.

Uber driver requirements in London

First things first, right? Get familiar with the platform and start preparing your personal documents that you’ll need in order to start driving with Uber in London.

Sign up to Uber London

To become an Uber driver in London you must meet the following criteria:

  • You need to be at least 21 years old
  • Have at least 3 years of driving experience
  • Have a valid UK driver’s licence (EU/foreign licences must be converted before onboarding)
  • Have an approved smartphone or tablet. iPhones and iPads running iOS 9.3 or later or single-sim devices running Android 6.0 and up with a minimum of 2 GB of RAM, an 8-core processor and a screen size of at least 4.7”
  • Have an eligible car
  • Have a Private Hire Driver Licence (PCO licence)

Create a driver profile and apply online to become an Uber driver in London.

How to Get a Private Hire Driver Licence (PCO licence)?

The Private Hire Driver Licence is an essential document if you want to work as an Uber driver in London. We often affectionately call it the “PCO licence” as it’s issued by the Public Carriage Office, which is part of Transport for London – a.k.a. TfL, another abbreviation you’ll hear a lot. There are a couple of boxes to tick, but fret not as Uber’s free Ignition information programme is a huge help at this stage.

How do I become an Uber driver in London?

Here’s what you need to do to obtain a PCO driver licence, step-by-step:

     1. Schedule a session at an Uber Ignition Centre

First, make sure you have the following documents at hand and none of them is expired:

  • Passport
  • UK driver’s licence (with at least 3 years of driving experience)
  • National insurance number
  • Proof of address (bank statement/utility bill dated within the last 3 months)
  • Your debit or credit card to make the necessary payments
  • TfL-approved English language qualification – B1 or higher level (more on this here)
  • DVLA Check Code a.k.a. Electronic Counterpart Code (you can generate this here)
  • Additional documents if you have changed your name or lived abroad over the last 3 years

If all is good, the next step is to schedule an Ignition session online and visit the London Ignition Centre on the date of your appointment, which is located at Beaufort House, Ground Floor, 15 St Botolph St, London EC3A 7DT.

     2. Visit the doctor

While you wait for your scheduled session at the Ignition Centre, call your General Practitioner and ask if they can complete the Private Hire Medical Form. Print the TPH/204 medical form and make sure the GP signs it at your visit. If your GP does not offer the eye test, you’ll need to do it elsewhere.

     3. Complete Enhanced DBS check

You need to complete an enhanced background check through the Disclosure and Barring Service as part of your PCO application. The folks at the Ignition Centre will help you with this. Remember to bring the documents listed above!

TOP TIP: You can save time and money in the long run if you sign up to the DBS update service. This lets you keep your DBS certificate up to date while allowing employers to access it online, with your consent. This only costs £13, significantly cheaper than the ~£60 fee you’d otherwise have to pay for every new disclosure.

     4. Submit private hire application

Once you have your completed medical form and DBS e-reference number, you are ready to submit your Private Hire Application. For this you need to register at https://tph.tfl.gov.uk/, sign in and follow the instructions.

IMPORTANT: Once the application is started, you’ll be unable to press a “Go Back” option, so it’s crucial to take the time to read and select the right answers during each step of the process. If you have any uncertainties, it’s best to visit the Ignition Centre for completing this step.

     5. Prepare for topographical assessment

Once you’ve submitted your Private Hire Driver Licence application, you will be invited to take a topographical (map-reading) test with TfL. Uber offers preparation sessions and a free online course to make sure you pass with no difficulty. More on this here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will my PCO application cost?

A PCO application costs around £700 in total, but bear in mind that this may vary by quite a lot depending on your particular situation. You’ll obviously have less to pay if you already have some of the necessary documents, however, if you need courses to prepare for your assessments or fail an exam, you may need to reach deeper into your pocket.

The table below should give you an idea of how much your PCO licence will cost you at the end of the day:

Licence application fee (non-refundable) £124
Grant of licence fee £186
Medical ~£80
DBS check £56.85 (online) / £58.85 (paper)
Topographical assessment ~£40 (assessment only) / ~£75 (with training)
English language assessment ~£180 – £200
Foreign licence conversion £43
*Post Office ‘Check and Send’ transfers £7.15 (unless paid via credit/debit card)

How long does it take to obtain a PCO licence?

It’s never too early to start pulling the documents together as it generally takes 12 to 16 weeks for your PCO licence application to be fully processed.

How long is a PCO licence valid for and how do I renew it?

Your licence is valid for 3 years. You should receive a renewal pack in the post about four months before it expires, but it’s always a good idea to set a reminder to contact TfL. Especially because the renewal process can take up to 8 weeks!

In a nutshell, you’ll have to renew your criminal record and apply for your licence renewal at TfL.

What happens if my PCO application is refused?

TfL will notify you via mail. The letter should include a confirmation that your application has been refused, the reason(s) for the refusal, as well as your right to appeal the decision – including what you need to do and by when, if you decide to do so (you normally have 21 days to present an appeal).

Uber vehicle requirements in London

Make sure your car is eligible

Cars age fast and there’s no way to be competitive with an old model regardless of how well it’s been looked after. Also, as environmental regulations get stricter by the minute, it makes sense to go for the latest model you can get your hands on, especially if you are thinking long-term. This will make your life so much easier on every level from paperwork, through taxes and insurance, not to mention the maintenance costs.

Since 1 January 2018 Transport for London requires all private hire vehicles licensed for the first time to have a Euro 6 petrol or diesel engine, or a Euro 4 petrol-hybrid engine. In real life, this means 2015 models or newer, so there’s not a lot of wiggle room anyway. Your car must also meet the following requirements:

  • It must have four independently opening doors
  • It has to be in good condition with no cosmetic damage. Salvaged or rebuilt vehicles are NOT accepted
  • No commercial branding is allowed
  • It must have a valid Private Hire Vehicle Licence (follow the steps below)

Get a Private Hire Vehicle licence (PHV)

The same way you as a driver need a PCO driver’s licence, you must also have proof from TfL that your car meets ridesharing service standards. The key words to remember are registration, insurance and a fresh MoT.

Here’s how to get a PHV licence in London

Check if you have the following documents and none of them is expired:

  • Vehicle Registration Certificate a.k.a. logbook (V5c) or (AFRL) certificate
  • Certificate of “hire & reward” insurance
  • MoT certificate – issued within the last 14 days! (not applicable to new cars in the first 12 months after registration)
  • Your debit or credit card to make the necessary payments

 

Related: How does Rent to buy work for cars? The complete guide

Other documents you may need:

  • Existing PHV vehicle licence (for licence renewal only)
  • Any vehicle modification documents (if applicable)
  • Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval – VIVA (for personal imports and left-hand drive vehicles)
  • Other relevant documentation relating to the vehicle (if applicable)

Once you have all documents ready, the next step is to apply for a PHV licence and book an appointment at one of the licenced inspection centres. You can do both online or call the vehicle contact centre on 0343 222 5555. You can find the list of inspection centres and more information you may find useful in this document.

IMPORTANT: Unless the car is registered to your name, you’ll need to be nominated by the registered keeper to act on their behalf when making an application and presenting the vehicle for inspection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a PHV licence valid for and how do I renew it?

Vehicle licences are issued for a period of 12 months from the date of inspection.

TOP TIP: Set a reminder to renew your PHV licence in time. While you’re at it, set one for the MoT as well – private hire vehicles must pass an MoT inspection once every 6 months!

How much will my PHV application cost?

Assuming you have all your documents ready apart from the fresh MoT, PHV application costs just under £200 in total. However, this does not include any additional expenses such as maintenance costs in case you need to change or repair something in order to pass the MoT inspection. Also expect this sum to go up considerably if any of the documents are missing or expired.

The table below should give you an idea of how much your PHV licence will cost you:

PHV licence application fee (non-refundable) £84
Grant of licence fee £56
MoT Up to £55
Hire & reward insurance (12 months) £2,000 avg. (ranging from £1,000 – £6,000)

IMPORTANT: The weekly rates for all Splend plans include all the expenses listed above!

How can Splend help me become an Uber driver in London?

Splend is more than a car rental company, we provide you with a safe and reliable new-model car for rideshare, but that’s just part of the story. Our Members get the full service from Day 1, meaning on top of the car we provide coaching and training to make you more successful. Here’s how we can make your job easier:

Forget the paperwork, just turn the key – your car is ready to drive

Our fleet meets all the rideshare requirements, sparing you all the time you’d otherwise have to spend making sure your car is good to go and obtaining all the documents that prove this. Splend’s cars are brand new and provide the highest comfort and safety for you and your passengers. This guarantees the all-important customer satisfaction and will earn you high driver ratings.

How do I become an Uber driver in London?

Uber application

Starting out may look confusing at first, but it’s alright if you’re a bit fuzzy on the details; our colleagues will walk you through the entire application process and make sure you can start driving in no time.

PHV licence

All Splend vehicles have a valid PHV licence so once your personal documents are in order you can start working and let us worry about the car’s paperwork.

Vehicle insurance

The weekly rental fee includes comprehensive rideshare insurance. Other than the peace of mind that you are always covered in the unlikely event of an accident, this also means less paperwork for you and more time out in the field making money. Splend also provides Members with 24/7 roadside assistance.

Vehicle inspection

All Splend cars have been inspected by licenced mechanics, so you just have to jump behind the wheel and start earning an income. We also cover the mandatory six-monthly MoTs. We schedule the appointments and notify you in time, so you’ll just have to take the car to the specified inspection centre between two rides.

Maintenance

This is the icing on the cake: our Members never have to worry about wear and tear or warranty issues. New tires, oil changes, brake pads – you name it, we cover it.

Additional Member Benefits

As a Splend Member you receive some unique Uber driver benefits such as a dedicated Member Success Representative (MSR) to support you to become successful on the roads.

Upon being onboarded with Splend, we give you a pack of extra goodies including: a carton of bottled water, ice scraper, first aid kit, mobile phone holder and charger. You will also get access to the Splend Member App, which allows you to track earnings and expenses. You will also be enrolled into our Driver Success Program which uses real time data to provide feedback on improving your driving behaviour. By doing so, you can decrease fuel costs and the chance of being involved in an accident.

In the coming months, Splend will be launching a revamped Member Benefits program which includes a range of exciting partner discounts.

For more information check out our summary of Member Benefits.

About Splend

Splend offers vehicle access to Uber drivers in the UK, Canada, Australia and Mexico through its Rent and Rent-to-Buy plans. In addition to the most important tool in your career as a rideshare driver, Splend also provides ongoing training, support, and data-driven feedback via a personal Member Success Representative. Our Members also receive some fantastic Member Benefits including discounts from our partners!

For more information about Splend, give our team a call on 0333 016 4331 or email us.